February 2, 2023
The holidays are a time to get together with loved ones and make some memories to cherish. The key is to make good memories, not things that will stick with you for life for all the wrong reasons – like being arrested for a Colorado DUI.
This holiday season, the Colorado police will be out in full force, patrolling the streets to make sure that everyone stays safe. That means that sobriety checkpoints and other precautions may be used. You don’t want to get swept up in those if you’ve been drinking and driving.
Here is what you need to know about DUIs in Colorado, plus a few tips to help you avoid this less than savory fate this holiday season.
DUIs in Colorado
In Colorado, driving under the influence occurs when someone operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.. The penalties for DUIs are based on how high the blood alcohol concentration is and how many previous convictions for a DUI someone has had in the past.
What Are the DUI Penalties in Colorado?
In many cases, a DUI in Colorado is a misdemeanor crime. When broken down by how many DUIs a person has committed, the penalties can be:
If it’s your first offense, you can expect to be sentenced to about five days behind bars and be responsible for fines up to $1,000. You may also have to complete up to 96 hours of community service, and your license may be revoked for nine months. If your blood alcohol level was above 0.20 percent, then you are required to spend time in jail.
If your blood alcohol content is 0.15 percent or higher, you may also be labeled as a persistent drunk driver, which means you can face harsher penalties reserved for repeat offenders – even if it’s your first time.
If you are found guilty of a DUI for the second time in Colorado, then you can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail and be responsible for fines of as much as $1,500. Your driver’s license can also be suspended for up to one year, and you may have to participate in alcohol education classes. When your license is reinstated, you may also be required to have an ignition interlock system installed on your car for up to two years.
When you are convicted of a DUI for the third time in Colorado, then you can spend up to 12 months behind bars and pay fines up to $1,500. You may also have to complete 120 hours of community service and take alcohol education classes. Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years, and, when it is reinstated, you will be required to install an ignition interlock system for a period of two years.
Persistent Drunk Drivers
If you have had two or more DUIs, or you have had your driver’s license revoked twice for a DUI, then you can be labeled a persistent drunk driver in the state. That can also be designated if you:
- Get caught driving on a license that has been suspended because of a DUI
- Had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher at the time of your DUI arrest
- Refuse to take a chemical test when you’re suspected of driving under the influence
In order to get your license back, you must have an ignition interlock system installed for a minimum of two years and complete alcohol education classes. You also must maintain a specific type of insurance for at least three years.
How to Avoid a DUI
There are several things you can do to avoid getting a Colorado DUI this season. If you’re going to be drinking someplace, then try to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car. Either get a ride from a friend, family member, or rideshare service so you don’t have to worry about it. If that’s not an option, you can also abstain from drinking – remember, you don’t need alcohol to have a good time.
If the get-together is held someplace public, think about getting a hotel room within walking distance or at the party location if possible. And, if all else fails, simply volunteer to have the party at your place – you don’t have to worry about going anywhere in that case!
Make the holiday memorable for the right reasons this year and avoid a DUI.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.